Prognostic significance of spatial and density analysis of T lymphocytes in colorectal cancer

Hanna Elomaa, Maarit Ahtiainen, Sara A. Väyrynen, Shuji Ogino, Jonathan A. Nowak, Marjukka Friman, Olli Helminen, Erkki Ville Wirta, Toni T. Seppälä, Jan Böhm, Markus J. Mäkinen, Jukka Pekka Mecklin, Teijo Kuopio, Juha P. Väyrynen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Background: Although high T cell density is a strong favourable prognostic factor in colorectal cancer, the significance of the spatial distribution of T cells is incompletely understood. We aimed to evaluate the prognostic significance of tumour cell-T cell co-localisation and T cell densities. Methods: We analysed CD3 and CD8 immunohistochemistry in a study cohort of 983 colorectal cancer patients and a validation cohort (N = 246). Individual immune and tumour cells were identified to calculate T cell densities (to derive T cell density score) and G-cross function values, estimating the likelihood of tumour cells being co-located with T cells within 20 µm radius (to derive T cell proximity score). Results: High T cell proximity score associated with longer cancer-specific survival in both the study cohort [adjusted HR for high (vs. low) 0.33, 95% CI 0.20–0.52, Ptrend < 0.0001] and the validation cohort [adjusted HR for high (vs. low) 0.15, 95% CI 0.05–0.45, Ptrend < 0.0001] and its prognostic value was independent of T cell density score. Conclusions: The spatial point pattern analysis of tumour cell-T cell co-localisation could provide detailed information on colorectal cancer prognosis, supporting the value of spatial measurement of T cell infiltrates as a novel, robust tumour-immune biomarker.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Apr 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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